Last week after the Pistons win over the Rockets, I somewhat cold-heartedly segued from a Kobe Bryant blurb about his poor final game in Philadelphia (where it said father time is undefeated) and then went on a limb to forecast that the Pistons would go undefeated on the rest of their homestand, and that they did. Though, with the games featuring the Suns, Bucks and Lakers, it wasn't much of a limb to go out on.
But it's the 2015-16 Pistons we're talking about.
Let's just not forget to give it up to the Pistons for beating teams they are supposed to beat!
Now to the links.
Charlotte Hornets Gameday: vs. Detroit Pistons -- The Herald
Matchup to Watch
Andre Drummond vs. Cody Zeller/Spencer Hawes: Drummond is having a fantastic season so far. This is a game when the Hornets could really miss the injured Al Jefferson.
Drummond will be tested away from the basket, primarily when he's guarding Hawes, a career 35% three point shooter, and also Frank Kaminsky, who is shooting 41% on 29 attempts so far in his rookie season.
Sure, Psycho T (Tyler Hansbrough) could see some minutes to try and body up Drummond.
Charlotte Hornets stat of the week: Points per possession off screens -- At The Hive
The Charlotte Hornets have had a lot of buzz surrounding their offense this year, which ranks second in the league in points per possession according to Synergy Sports. One thing in particular that stands out in Synergy's database is that the Hornets are by far the best team in the league at scoring coming off of screens. The Hornets are scoring 1.22 points per possession, while the next closest team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are scoring 1.13 points per possession.
Remember Jeremy Lamb's very underwhelming time with the Thunder? Well, he's a real basketball player now.
Jeremy Lamb especially is great at coming around screens and shooting. His emergence as a go-to scorer for the Hornets bench has been tremendous for them this year. They love running him off of a double staggered screen to get him an open look from time to time.
Kemba Walker Having The Best Season Of His Career -- Hoops Habit
KCP has another tough assignment on his hands as I'm sure he will see time on Kemba when he's not checking Batum.
Walker is a player where the eye test has never matched what the numbers say. Aesthetically he looks the part of an NBA point guard. He's a talented ball-handler and his step-back jump shot is gorgeous, but the numbers have shown a flawed player that can't shoot for his entire career.
However, there's a case to be made that Walker's poor efficiency is not entirely his fault. During his first four seasons, he never played on an above average offensive team. Not even a mediocre offensive team. During those four seasons, Walker played on teams with offensive ratings that ranked 30th (95.2), 28th (101.5), 24th (103.6), and 28th (100.1).
The East is Back. Maybe. -- SBNation (Sunday Shootaround)
Consider the Hornets. Like the Pacers, they ditched their old-school offensive approach and embraced the four-out revolution with a heavy reliance on perimeter playmaking and long-distance shots. Like the Pacers, they have an emerging two-way player in Nicolas Batum who is playing the best basketball of his career. And like the Pacers, the Hornets have transformed themselves overnight into a surprisingly versatile squad through a handful of trades and a few under-the-radar free agent signings.
In many ways, Charlotte's makeover has been even more astonishing. The Hornets were the worst 3-point shooting team in the league last season, making less than 32 percent of their shots and ranking in the lower third in attempts. This year, they're taking almost eight more shots from behind the arc each game and making them almost 36 percent of the time for an offense that ranks in the top five. By record, the Hornets are on the edges of the Eastern Conference playoff race. By other objective measures like point differential, they're a top 10 team.
D'Angelo Russell steps around Reggie Jackson like a traffic cone
A rare bright play for LA against Detroit, here's the video.
Kobe Bryant reflects on 2004 Finals loss to Pistons, content with five rings -- ESPN
Bryant will finish his career with a 5-2 series record in the Finals, the only defeats coming to the Pistons in 2004 and the Boston Celtics in 2008.
"Both different," Bryant said. "We lost them both different. That 2008 [Lakers] team, we ran an offense extremely well and knew how to execute extremely well. Boston just took it from us. They were just tougher, nastier, meaner.
"Detroit -- throughout the year, we just didn't ... we weren't religious about how we executed our offense. We tried to rely on talent a lot more than the offense itself. We managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat in San Antonio when we were down 0-2. But it caught up to us."
Monday, not Sunday, is FUN day -- Poll time!